FPS of the Year – 1996

…Fucking hell. I was worried this might happen. Okay, as a general disclaimer, there are some serious BIG games this year…many of which would normally be #1, no problem. I’m confident in my #1, however, especially as it’s my favorite FPS. Yes, as in ever. No shitting. No peaking, now! Read through it, goddammit!

Alien Breed 3D 2 – The Killing Grounds

Same thing as the last one. Nothing too special here. Pass!

Ashes to Ashes

Dumb name, but AWESOME INTRO…then dumb game. Hilarious, but dumb. Pass.

Assassin 2015

So yeah, from what I can tell, this is one of those “experimental” FMV hybrid type games, as if it’s done on the Sega CD or some garbage. Personally, I’d be annoyed as hell if it kept doing that shit over and over, so I’m going to pass on this one.

Chex Quest 1 and 2

…so yeah, Cereal Doom. Pass.

Cyberdillo

I…I mean…just…no.

DeathDrome

No, I couldn’t find any videos for this. No, it doesn’t matter. The game is pretty awful. Pass.

Deus

You know, this game actually looked pretty interesting…until it actually started. Now it just looks silly. But not silly in a way where it’s actually salvageable because it’s funny…so yeah, pass.

Disruptor

This one actually looks pretty fun. It’s dark, moody, and kinda reminds me of Doom 64, which is one of my more favorite, underdog-esque FPSs. I’ll have to give it a shot after writing this.

Elder Scrolls 2 – Daggerfall

I enjoyed this one far more than the original (and even moreso than Morrowind). It’s a pretty fun, old dungeon crawler that has some interesting FPS elements to it. That and it’s not too complicated to figure out and even has its own built-in tutorial and good character creation engine. Especially if you like the later Elder Scrolls games, this is well worth checking out.

Epidemic

Actually, this one looks pretty interesting too. From what I can tell, it operates like a FPS Armored Core, but it sounds like Metal Gear Solid or something. Not too sure about the HUD there, but the overall look and feel seems like something I’d be interested in. I’ll definitely have to check this one out too.

Eradicator

From what I can tell, this looks to be a generic Duke Nukem 3D wannabe without the atmosphere and charm that made Duke awesome. Yeah, pass.

Josephine – Portrait of an Assassin

Ermmm…not sure what to say regarding this one. It’s like a game no one but Wikipedia and maybe 3 other people knew existed. I had certainly never heard of it and there are no videos to back it up as being good or crap, but…well, you be the judge. From reading the box there, I really don’t think it’s my cup of tea. Pass.

Jumping Flash! 2

Much like the original, this is very unique, crazy, and fun looking. Yeah, I’m definitely interested.

Marathon Infinity

Played Marathon? Like it? Check it. That’s about it. I can’t really discern any major upgrades here, so in all likelihood, it could be the exact same engine.

Nemac 4

…Well, that’s just great. Once again, a game with ALL THAT BUILDUP…just to fight a bunch of evil R2D2s. Yeah, no thanks. Pass!

Powerslave

Hmm…kinda seems like an Egyptian-themed Rise of the Triad, minus some of the zaniness. Seems pretty okay. Might be worth checking out.

Project Intercalaris

So I wasn’t able to find any actual vids on this, but once again, if you look at it it’s basically a super ugly version of Wolfenstein (which is really saying something) with robots and shit. Not that interesting, to be honest. Pass!

Quake

Quake is a good game. No, make that a GREAT game. But it still didn’t win. Why is that? Let me be honest…though Quake was revolutionary for its time as far as having ACTUAL 3D graphics, not only does it look dated now, but the actual FPS was very low and therefore it came off looking and feeling somewhat cheap. “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??!?!” I know, I know…maybe it really is about personal preference, but I’m being real here: I just didn’t like the original Quake that much.

Maybe I played it too late or maybe it was that it didn’t matter because there were plenty of raster/sprite FPSs out this and even the next year that were GREAT, so it really, really didn’t matter.

RoboQuest

So we start off with a crappily drawn intro and eventually get to the gameplay, which looks like a more claustrophobic version of Nitemare 3D. Yeah, pass.

Strife

This game is fucking great. Strife combines elements of choice, story, open world, and pure FPS to create something magical. It is a little hard to figure out where to go/what to do at times, much like Hexen and a few others that had similar elements, but overall it’s a very fun and engaging title.

Team Fortress

Now don’t get me wrong, I love TF2, but this just looks like an even crappier version of Quake. I guess that shouldn’t matter; TF2 is pretty badass, but what you’ll learn very quickly about me is I often judge a FPS by its single player campaign. I won’t say I HATE multiplayer only titles, but often I don’t hold them to the same level, regardless of how addictive they might be.

Terminator – SkyNET

Yikes, is it…I mean, is it SUPPOSED to be that fast? Jeez. In any case, this looks pretty fun, but little more than Quake 2 with a Terminator skin. Actually, not even that good, but still entertaining all the same.

Terra Nova – Strike Force Centauri

Hmm…reminds me of Mechwarrior, only more frenzied. Speaking of which, I just realized either Wikipedia didn’t include the Mechwarrior games or Mechwarrior 2 was before 1990, which is highly unlikely. Goddammit…those are good games, too.

Transland

Well, I didn’t find any videos of it, but that one screenshot says it all. Pass.

Witchaven 2 – Blood Vengeance

So the original Witchaven was tough…but if you play the sequel, YOU WILL GET YOUR SHIT FUCKED. It was hard then and it’s tough as balls now. You want a challenge? You got it! I would almost claim this was the Ninja Gaiden of FPSs, to be honest. And really, it’s not that fun as a result. Sure, everyone wants a challenge, but only a rare few really want something that ridiculous.

XS

…Okay. Not much I can really say about this. The uploader certainly seems passionate about it, but it looks just okay to me. It doesn’t look BAD, just…okay.

ZPC

So the intro looks like something straight out of either a Frank Miller flick or Madworld, then it switches to the exact same thing, but with vector/sprites. Pretty spiffy, actually, but you know, there’s a reason why even FPSs that impress me this year didn’t win…

Winner: Duke Nukem 3D

Kickass weaponry, spot on gore, badass monotone hero, hilarious references, awesome level design, great and varied weaponry, cool multiplayer, long ass single player campaign, intense and well thought out shootouts, mild nudity, sweet ass music, plenty of lewd content…THIS game defined the 90s for me. Anytime I think of the 90s, this is the first thing that comes to mind…just kicking back and playing the shit out of Duke.

Even sweeter was the recent port to XBLA along with 16 person multiplayer, updated controls, Plutonium Pack already included, the ability to play ANY single player map as well as additional multiplayer specific maps in multiplayer, and much more. I have nothing more to say…except HAIL TO THE KING, BABY!

Conclusion

Some of you are probably butt-hurt that Duke beat out titles like Quake, Team Fortress, and Strife, but let me be 100% honest: take a good, hard look at this year. There were maybe 10 titles that were actually decent. Now, if we were talking about RPGs, that would be a good goddamn year…but we’re talking about FPSs and in their “prime.”

The good news is it only gets better from here. The bad news is it really is going to come down to the wire and be much harder for me to choose each and every time. Especially during the 90s, I was an absolute FPS nut, so this will be especially fun, though difficult in choosing. Stay tuned!

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4 Comments

Filed under 3DO, Amiga, GotY Series, Mac, PC, PS1, Retro, Sony, Videogames

4 responses to “FPS of the Year – 1996

  1. There was no doubt about Duke Nukem 3D winning this πŸ™‚ I completely agree. To start with, the controls were smooth and felt perfect, getting that right is enough to make a good FPS, but Duke3D had so much more. The amount of interactivity in the levels was insane. The game OOZED life and character in every way. And the brilliant BUILD level editor included on the CD made things even better, as did the CD packing full versions of Duke 1 and 2! (Plus tons of demos of other games).

    And Duke also gets an award for being the only FPS hero who can actually jump decently.

    (Side note: Mechwarrior plays more like a Sim than first person shooter. You controlled the machine, rather than your own movements. And like other Sims (flight, racing, tank), the first person perspective was only an option, and could be played outside the machine)

    • No, I get that with MechWarrior, but you’ll see as time goes on just how much ass Wiki sucks. There were a LOT of games that were missed, solely because I relied on them and them alone to provide lists and release dates. In the future, I’ll be using a variety of resources for fact-checking, but that also makes these take a hell of a lot longer to put together.

  2. Ever heard of http://www.mobygames.com? πŸ™‚ I could kill hours on that site. And also a brilliant site for grabbing shots for blog posts. Can find nearly anything about any game. Screenshots, box covers (even what the CD looked like). Screenshots are even sorted by what format they’re from.

    It’s basically a big fat database for games, as a historical reference, and very fun to trawl through as the number of contributions is immense. Can do searches on the databse on things like “FPS genre” in the year “1997”.

    Have fun!

    • I actually simplified it too much. The database is really powerful. Go to Game Browser in the top right, and then you ‘stack’ up your criteria. So you can do something like add “action” and “shooter” under genres, and then add “first-person” under perspective (That’s how cool the search is, you can even specify the perspective of the games you’re searching for!) … then your year πŸ™‚

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